"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Role of the 10 Commandments & Feminine Role Models from the Quran

Notes and Reflections on Noah's Other Son, by Brian Arthur Brown -- see introductory post for more information on this book

I'm moving on and not noting as much in each chapter although he has some pretty good information in many of them. He often introduces someone and then ends the chapter discussing some political topic or world event and relating it somehow.  I did note a few things as I read the chapters on Jacob (Yaqub), Joseph (Yusuf), Moses (Musa) and the three Israelite kings (Saul/Talut, David/Dawoud and Solomon/Sulaimon). 

The Ten Commandments are a summarization of universal codes of ethics that were passed down before them and "they endow those that come after them."   The author mentions how "Christianity sits on a Jewish foundation and Americans in particular frequently refer to a Judeo-Christian foundation of their new-world culture." Therefore, "it is not unreasonable to state that Western civilization has a Jewish moral foundation and the Ten Commandments are increasingly acknowledged as Judaism's inestimable contribution of the moral foundation to an emerging global culture." (pg. 124)

The Ten Commandments are a foundation and thus, not everything. For they need interpreting.  "Understood correctly, the Sharia is a divine abstract of the Law; the summary of the Law by Jesus is an interpretation; each person must work out his own ethical responsibilities in fear and trembling, as opposed to either merely obeying the Law or adopting the illusion that anything goes."

He states there are "both personal and communal applications of the Law to be worked out in every age" and the Ten Commandments are about "fundamental relationships." We must extend the application of these relationships to being not only between us and God and our fellow man, but to our environment and the animal kingdom.  (pg. 125)

The author notes that the Quran "gives greater place to the quest to recover the Law."

In a chapter on "Women Who Have Names" the author speaks of the feminism of the Quran which is much less patriarchal than the Bible.  For instance Pharaoh's and Potiphar's wives and the Queen of Sheba are all mentioned by name unlike the Biblical versions of their stories.  He says Hagar is "especially important" (although I honestly cannot remember her being mentioned by name in the Quran).  He states "only Mary rivals Jesus in the time and the space dedicated to individuals in the Quran.  ... They are by far the two persons most often mentioned in Muslim Scriptures."  (pg. 144)  I may be wrong, but I remember Moses being mentioned the most in the Quran though I never did a formal count of how many times people were mentioned. I just recall hearing about Moses and Pharaoh a lot.

Although the author stated in the beginning he only wanted to explore the actual Scriptures of each faith - which he said meant he was not going to explore the ahadith, he broke this "rule" a few times in order to make certain points.  He wanted to share the Muslim community's four feminine role models: Khadija, Fatima, Mary and Asiya who "together portray the feminine ideal in leadership roles in Muslim business, religion, family, and government."  (pg. 144)

Question:  If you were going to choose feminine role models from Scripture or religious history/tradition, would you have chosen these four or would you replace one or two with others?  Who would YOU choose and why?

Thoughts on anything else?


observant observer said...

Well,if the stories of women are to be regarded as how the religions put women to be equal partner to men, I could give names from the old testament of Ruth, Esther, whom with their wisdom had saved the people and famiy's name. As from the New Testament, Mary mother of Jesus,whom by choice had accepted the role of a mother who also suffered in supporting and witnessing her Son's sacrifice. Then, Mary the sister of Martha who refused to take the traditional role of being in the background to serve men. I could also name many others, but since you limited it to only 4, that's only what I can remember for a moment.

Susanne said...

Oh,I love those! Please feel free to share as many as you want. I'd love to see your whole list! :)

Wafa' said...

I don't think i would choose any of them. Though I do respect them all a lot. I wont choose them because they didn't fight for anything specific but becoming obedient and faithful.
Pharaoh's wife would be very strong to be a believer in a house against God, and maybe her staying there helped her follow believer in a way.
Queen of Sheba was wise and intelligent woman who might be a choice if we have to.

In general, i don't think that religious women can be role models for a lot of people, they merely following strict rules and spreading them no matter what.

do you know which religious woman i consider role models? the ones fighting for equality , everyone's right and reforming from inside the institution.

Susanne said...

Wafa', wow! Really enjoyed your comment! :)

observant observer said...

Well, I have skimmed over the Bible to get some of the women names that I'm already familiar with, so here they are:
From the OT: (I took from the septuagint OT that is officialy part of the Catholic Bible): Judith, she bravely challenged the King who wanted to exterminate the Jewish tribe with her beauty and brain.To me this is almost like the David vs Golliath but amazingly the heroine here used the feminine power.

In the book of Samuel I, we come to know Hana, the women whom by faith had been given the bless from God to finally bore a child for the service and glory of God, after bearing lots of difficulties being looked down by the other wife. She took what it was needed to prove her faith and she prepared her son to be the model of faith as well.

From the New Testament :
Mary Magdalene (together with the other women) who had bravely and relentlessly followed the Lord, even at His time of anguish when all other men disciples had gone and hide out of fear. These were the ladies whom our Lord had trusted them to be the witness of the resurrection, I can say that they were amongst the first of the Gospel evangelists,at the time when women as witness were usually forsaken.

Then there was Tabitha that by her virtues and charity was given back her life by Peter.

I also love the Samaritan woman who by repenting her sins and recognizing the Messias, came to bring her fellow people to Jesus.

There was also the Greek woman that by faith asking Jesus to heal her children (this is to show that she was not afraid to be rejected especially by the social norm at the time) and she got what she asked.

These are examples of women who lived by faith, trusted the Lord, followed Him at whatever cost, ready to break the norms and rules made or dictated by men or society. I give my kudos to them.

observant observer said...

Susanne, since I'm Catholic, i cant help adding some more women (I'm not going to list the names) who didn't make it to the Bible, LOL. Those are the women saints (santas), whom in the Catholic church had been revered for their part in spreading the Gospel, living the Faith, giving insight of faithful journey etc etc.

I mean this is in comparison to the author you discuss, since he also put those names that were not mentioned in the Koran.


Amber said...

If I had to pick? Well I'd leave off Khadija, Fatima and Aisha, of course.

The Virgin Mary is always a good role model though impossible for us to live up to. :)

Mmm...other women from the Bible that I would choose as role models...I'd say Rahab, Ruth and Tamar (the first Tamar, not David's daughter).

Achelois said...

If I could choose to be one woman from religious scripture/history, I would like to be Achelois :)

Susanne said...

Observant Observer, I really enjoyed reading about the other women you mentioned. I'm glad you not only mentioned them, but shared why you admire them. Thank you! :)

Susanne said...

Amber, those are good ones! Wow, you all are coming up with quite a good list! :)

Achelois, but of course! :-D